IT’S been an “extraordinarily busy” start to 2019 for members of the Rye CFA – and especially the 16 firefighters who have spent more than 650 hours fighting fires and saving homes outside the Rye area in the first two and a half months of the year.
Their work was made even more difficult by hot and windy weather in a summer labelled by the weather bureau as the “hottest on record”.
But Brigade Captain Glenn Diamond said the crews were still able to respond to more than 100 local calls, with most of the fires marked down as avoidable as they were caused by illegal burn offs during the fire-danger period.
A kitchen fire at a house in Pardoner Road, Rye, was extinguished thanks to the quick thinking and training of the Rye crew, Thursday 7 March. Fire damage was restricted to a small portion of the home. CFA units from Rosebud and Sorrento also responded.
Captain Diamond said Rye CFA members in early January quickly brought a grass and shrub fire at Mt Martha under control. In early February the crew, supported by brigades from Boneo, Dromana, Flinders, Main Ridge, Mt Martha and Rosebud, fought the Grantville fire which threatened houses and rural properties. It took two days to bring under control.
“It was great to see the brigades all working together to meet the objectives of the incident controller,” he said on social media at the time.
“Thank you also to the members who stayed home to ensure coverage across the peninsula and to Sorrento Brigade for relocating their Tanker 2 into Rye station for the night and staff at Rosebud who continue to support the home brigades in the event of any fire activity on the peninsula.”
In late February Rye CFA crews fought a fire in a eucalypt gum plantation at Shoreham and prevented it threatening Flinders. Embers were spotting up to 500 metres into neighbouring paddocks.
The crews also helped fight the huge Bunyip State Park fire caused by lightning strikes, Friday 1 March. The fire continues to burn with crews from Forest Fire Management back burning and blacking out.
Captain Diamond and 1st Lieutenant Paul Baiguerra are having discussions with Nepean MP Chris Brayne over plans for a new station in Rye to “enable the brigade to update their facilities to current standards”.
“This will enable the brigade to better serve the growing infrastructure and community, and also the need for a satellite station at St Andrews Beach, which is one of the most fire prone areas identified after the 2009 Royal Commission into the Black Saturday bushfires.”
Captain Diamond said the biggest hurdle was acquiring land in the St Andrews Beach area to build a suitable shed to safely store and operate necessary equipment.
CFA volunteers are always wanted. To inquire about fire safety around the home or on rural properties, as well as CFA memberships, contact any CFA brigade.